Monday, July 19, 2010

P-Noy urged to unveil environmental plans in upcoming SONA

MANILA, July 19 (PNA) -- With barely a week before the chief executive
addresses the joint session of the 15th Congress, an environmental
network prodded President Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" to use the occasion
to unwrap a package of solutions to the country’s environmental woes.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a network of over 100 groups aiming for zero
waste and chemical safety goals, expressed its hope that President
Aquino's first State of the Nation Address (SONA) will give due
prominence to protect the environment from waste and toxic pollution.

“The SONA provides P-Noy with a superb venue to announce and draw
citizens’ support for environmental policies and measures that will
clean up our communities, while promoting an ecological way of life,
mitigating climate impacts, spawning green jobs and inspiring local
self-reliance,” said Roy Alvarez, president, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We hope to hear P-Noy declaring an ambitious waste diversion target,
which is attainable if all the stakeholders, including the people,
government, industry, civil society, formal and informal waste sector,
will put their acts together and advance an innovative people-centered
zero waste program,” he said.

Such program should seek to 1) reduce the volume and toxicity of
discards, 2) promote intensive reusing, recycling and composting, 3)
recognize the role of informal waste sector in resource recovery, and
4) ensure the environmentally-sound management of hazardous waste.

For her part, Dr. Leah Primitiva Samaco-Paquiz, Secretary of the
EcoWaste Coalition, underscored the need for President Aquino to
respond to major chemical challenges facing the Filipino families and

“The upcoming SONA, we hope, will demonstrate government’s
steadfastness to safeguard the public health and the environment from
toxic chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), lead,
mercury, cyanide and phthalates, to name a few,” she said.

“We’ll be elated if P-Noy will make policy pronouncements in support
of global and local efforts to curb toxic pollution, including the
non-combustion treatment of PCBs, the elimination of lead in paint and
the implementation of various mercury control measures,” she added.

“Our people will be listening intently on how P-Noy plans to fix our
waste and toxic problems and we hope we won’t be disappointed,” she

The EcoWaste Coalition had crafted what they called the “Citizens’
Agenda for Zero Waste and Chemical Safety,” which was submitted to
P-Noy last June 25.

One of the key proposals of the group is for P-Noy to pursue a
national chemical safety policy framework and action plan in line with
the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).

Chemical safety, according to the EcoWaste Coalition, is integral to
improving public health and the environment, eradicating disease and
poverty, and achieving sustainable development for all. (PNA)